Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Hans Bluff of Ca-Ca

Does anybody remember that Hans Detweiller, the missing lobbyist for Clean Line for a proposed high voltage direct current private powerline through Iowa and Illinois commonly known as RICL?  He was that guy nobody liked.  Rumor had it one newspaper told him if he wanted HIS article printed then buy an ad.   Looks like Hans finally surface in an article by Steve Daniels.  He is still full of himself and found someone willing to print the story he wants at Crain’s Chicago Business!    Then again, maybe Han’s is just in denial.  The Rock Island Clean Line  has been DENIED

Here’s some Hans quotes (in red) from the Steve Daniels article. 
"It's a terrible precedent—not just for us but any nonincumbent," Hans Detweiler, Rock Island vice president of development, said of the decision in an interview.

It’s not a terrible precedent but a great statement of the law.  It’s the court’s reminder to the Illinois Commerce Commission to follow the Public Utilizes Act to the letter of the law.  The Public Utilities Act was written to protect Illinois residents and ratepayers.

He argued that the logic of the ruling is that only established utilities like ComEd and Ameren Illinois can win approval for transmission lines. That undermines competition, he said.

The Public Utilities Act was established to create restrictions and requirements on companies desiring to be a public utility.  It’s not unreasonable to expect the utility have a commitment to serve the public.   It’s a misconception to think the Public Utilities Act doesn’t permit the Merchant Transmission Line Model.  To enjoy the benefits of eminent domain, Clean Line Energy needs to conform their merchant model to the expectations of the law. 

Sorry Hans, you can’t have it all.  That’s why public utilities are regulated.  

Detweiler said the ruling ignores that the project would lower electricity prices for Illinois consumers as more power would be made available in the market. The new line would be designed to move up to 4,000 megawatts, enough to power 1.4 million homes.

Again, it’s completely irrelevant for the power to be made available to the Chicagoland market.  All of RICL’s capacity can be purchased by public utilities in states east of Illinois.  Having an opportunity to buy the electricity is not the same as a commitment to serve the Illinois ratepayers. 

The decision doesn't pass constitutional muster, he said.
"Under the court's ruling, until such time as Rock Island has an Illinois generator as a customer, any other contracts from any other customers would be worthless, and the clear economic benefits to Illinois electricity customers completely irrelevant," he said. "The analogy for this decision would be a court saying that an oil pipeline traversing Illinois from Missouri to Indiana must have local Illinois oil producers as customers of the line or else there is no public benefit. It is absurd and a clear restraint on interstate commerce."

The court is saying there is not a need for this privately owned transmission line.  So what’s the problem?  There is no threat the lights could go out without the Rock Island Clean Line.  The notion that the Rock Island Clean Line’s failure to meet the requirements of the Public Utilities Act being unconstitutional is a pathetic argument.  Transmission siting has always been the domain of the states and not the federal government.  State laws apply here and there is no federal eminent domain for transmission siting. 

The comparison between RICL and a pipeline model is wrong as Clean Line.  The pipeline business model does not apply to transmission.  The regulation of pipelines is a completely different animal.  Siting is handled by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission because pipelines handle an actual product in oil or natural gas.  Transmission siting has a long history of being the domain of the states. 

Clean Line hasn't ruled out a federal appeal if the Illinois Supreme Court declines to take the case,
Detweiler said.

What?!?!?!  A federal appeal if denied by the Illinois Supreme Court?  For what? 

Does Hans think he can create federal eminent domain by judicial legislation?  Does he think he can find a judge to reject state’s domain as regulators of electricity public utilities?  A federal lawsuit would probably bring the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners against them.  Then there is the Organization of PJM States Inc.  States are protective of their turf with FERC.  Again, transmission siting is the domain of the states and not federal government.   

SteveDaniels is capable of writing good journalism.  After reading him for a few years, it is obvious he does get into a lazy streak and write the story that is spoon fed him.  This is a classic example.  He gave Hans the sounding board no other paper in Northern Illinois would allow.  This article is Han's bluff.  He's full of ca-ca. 

If RICL appeals, will the Illinois Supreme Court accept the appeal and should RICL be allowed to pick and choose which part of the state Public Utility Act applies?  You would think Hans would learn by now “Let us do what we want with your land or we’ll sue” is not much of a threat.  RICL has been denied. 

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